My Tehran for Sale (2009)

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Released 19-Nov-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 96:44
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Granaz Moussavi
Studio
Distributor
Cyan Films
Gryphon Entertainment
Starring Marzieh Vafamehr
Amir Chegini
Asha Mehrabi
Mobina Karimi
Mitra Mehraban
Sandy Cameron
Hadi Mansouri
Seyedd Mehdi Heydari
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Farsi Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Farsi dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, constantly; this is the Middle East
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Marzieh (Marzieh Vafamehr) is a woman and an underground theatre performer in Tehran, in a society which gives both few opportunities of freedom. Yet, there is a suppressed but active young subculture in Tehran and at a rave party Marzieh is introduced by her friend Sadaf (Asha Mehrabi) to Saman (Amir Chegini); an Iranian born Australia citizen, now living in Adelaide. They escape together when the party is raided by the authorities and the captured partygoers whipped as a punishment. They start to live together and Saman offers to take Marzieh to Australia and she applies for a visa. While waiting, Marzieh designs and makes clothing, rehearses for her part in an underground play and looks after her neighbour’s daughter Nilou (Mobina Karimi). But her world falls apart when she fails the medical for an Australian visa; Saman leaves, the other underground performers are imprisoned. In desperation Marzieh agrees to pay a people smuggler to help her escape across the border.

     My Tehran for Sale is an Australian / Iranian production, written, directed and produced by Iranian born poet Granaz Moussavi. From the opening scenes, where two very different musical styles, one traditional, the other a rave party, are juxtaposed as a metaphor for modern Iran, we are into non-linear, almost plot less, quasi-documentary filmmaking. My Tehran for Sale is filmed with ever-moving hand held cameras, with people, some we know and some we never do, moving around in shot, half heard or incomplete conversations and mostly natural effects, such as traffic, on the audio. My Tehran for Sale is not without effective music, but the Farsi language songs, mostly written by Mohsen Namjou, are either heard on radios or performed as part of the film. The sequences filmed on and around the streets of Tehran look and feel natural; this is a fly on the wall slice of life helped, in no small measure, by a brilliant, compelling performance by Marzieh Vafamehr that is totally believable. Indeed, all the non-professional actors, including Amir Chegini, are natural which adds to the authenticity of the film.

     My Tehran for Sale does not preach or make judgments; it shows things as they are. The regime in Iran, which suppresses free speech and marginalises women (two incidents, the fate of a pregnant woman and the difficulties of Nilou’s mother in gaining legal custody, are telling) is not expressly condemned. Yet neither is Australia shown as a shining light of freedom; Marzieh, having made it to Australia leaving repression behind, is imprisoned in Woomera for two years as an illegal immigrant, humiliated and her evidence of violence and repression in Iran rejected by unfeeling officials. And it appears at the end (only appears, because the ending resolves nothing), that Marzieh has no place, no home, in either Australian or Iranian society.

     My Tehran for Sale is a powerful, moving and very topical film, anchored by a brilliant central performance by Marzieh Vafamehr. It shows a very different face of Iran, but does not preach nor condemn. It is a very impressive film debut by Granaz Moussavi that deserves to be seen. Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     My Tehran for Sale is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced. The print shows all the hallmarks of guerrilla style shooting on the streets of Tehran using natural lighting. It is quite soft and lacking clarity with a drab, subdued colour palate. Brightness and contrast vary, sometimes quite a lot, although blacks and shadow detail are acceptable. There was some noise reduction evident but artefacts were absent. However, none of this was a DVD issues but would be a result of the original filming. As well, it is not distracting and in fact added to the documentary feel of the film.

     English subtitles for the Farsi dialogue are in a white font. I noticed no spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice between Farsi / English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps and Farsi / English dts at 754 Kbps. The DVD cover does not mention the dts track.

     This is not a film with chases or explosions so is not one to give your system a workout. Within the context of the film either audio track works fine, although the dts is recorded at a lower level. Dialogue is clear, the surrounds being used for mainly music with some effects, such as traffic noise. The subwoofer gave some support to the music which, as noted above, consisted of Iranian songs.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:53)

Stills Gallery

     9 movie stills. Silent, use the remote to advance.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     I cannot currently find a record of any other release of the film.

Summary

     My Tehran for Sale is an Australian / Iranian production, written, directed and produced by Iranian born poet Granaz Moussavi. It is a powerful, moving and very topical film, given the current fate of asylum seekers in this country, and anchored by a brilliant central performance by Marzieh Vafamehr. .

     The DVD has acceptable video and audio and minimal extras. The film is highly recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, January 10, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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